One of the most important things that American citizens have it the right to vote – without having to worry about how you vote (think North Korea). This very important right is treated as something that people only worry about doing if they have the time. MAKE TIME!
Because the future of your state depends on it! If you are reading this and have your own children, grandchildren, or plan on having children their future depends on it.
Because another part of being an American citizen is the the right to attend a public school and receive a top notch education. And in most cases (not all) if you do not like your neighborhood school you can make arrangements for an alternative school of some sort (in district transfer, private, magnate, charter, online….). We will discuss the differences of all of these on a different day. They all have their strengths and weaknesses.
Education should be one of the most important things for you to consider during this election cycle. Oklahoma has started to show itself (finally) as a great place for companies to bring their business. Look no further than Devon and Chesapeake in the Oklahoma City area. One thing that will help these companies stay in Oklahoma will be for us to show that public education (and education in general) is important to our state. Big companies do not want to bring their thousands of employees and their money if those employees cannot send their kids to great schools.
Here is another reason why education is important: there have been so many State Superintendent debates/forums/town-halls that I cannot possibly count them all. Do you know how many debates between the two candidates for governor? 1 (really disappointed in this, there should have been several)….Now ask yourself – which two candidates will we be most informed about?
So why do we insist on doing things backwards here (vote)? We cut taxes, we cut funding, we create tax breaks for multi-billion dollar companies. Why (vote)? I get that there should be some incentives and I totally agree with the unsung American culture of take what you get. But lets stop the madness with education.
Vote for people who will actively seek ways to encourage educational growth in our state instead of stifle it. Vote for people who will encourage young people to be teachers. Vote for people who will allow teachers to teach – after all we went to school to be teachers! We are not trying to ruin our children – far from it – trying to chase around all of the different mandates coming from our political leaders has created unheard of turmoil.
To our future state representatives – quit being so focused on creating Oklahoma Standards loaded with Oklahoma values, and full of Oklahoma __________. Please tell me how Algebra in Oklahoma is different from Algebra in Maine, or Colorado, or Texas, or England for that matter. And a split infinitive is a split infinitive whether you have an English class in California or Florida (maybe not Florida, they seem more messed up than us). Take all of the money you are spending on developing new “Oklahoma” standards and use the ACT or SAT standards. I just saved you millions – your welcome. While we are on the topic of testing – pay for high school kids to take ACT or SAT once their junior year and once their senior year. More millions saved, and common sense all at the same time. Your Welcome!
To our future State Superintendent – please, please, please listen to your educators. And it doesn’t hurt to tell us we are appreciated now and then. I am tired of being “Damned.” I did not get into teaching to be put down by my leader. Good luck cleaning up the ginormous mess you are inheriting.
To our Governor – whichever of you it will be – revisit the funding issue for education in this state. You will lead a great state that is consistently referred to as a quality place to live. You will also lead a state that has put the education system under enormous strain – it is no fun teaching in a place where you don’t know what will happen next. Find ways to help fund our system better. Go out of your way (through your actions and words) to show that teachers matter to you (and not just sound bytes – be present to us). If you want to continue to bring top notch businesses to Oklahoma, revisit our policies on public education. To many more years like the past couple and those businesses will not come calling.
Why do I share these thoughts? Because I teach. Everyday. My three young children go to public school. Everyday. You know someone who teaches. You know someone who goes to school. Ask yourself – are you happy with how things are? Could they be better? Then vote – and ask yourself – is the candidate that I am supporting helping or hurting education in the Great State of Oklahoma.
EDUCATION = YOUR FUTURE!